Farm Life Blog

Farm Life

Victory Gardens

03.25.20

Winning the battle with a garden

I’ve heard from so many friends that follow us how much they appreciate seeing farm life through our eyes this past week on our Instagram stories. I’m glad you all are following along – I love to share what we love about the farm and I’m glad it’s a positive distraction from how uncomfortable we all feel right now. When I start feeling anxious about what’s going on, and what ISN’T going on in our world, I just step outside and look at the cows, pet the cats or give the chickens some tasty treats. I’m not sure how I would feel if I didn’t have that distraction. Once again, this farm is saving me. 

I’ve also started on our seed starting for this year’s vegetable garden and flowers. Knowing that no matter what happens in the outside world, that Mother Nature will still do what she always does (though, not in the way she normally has, but that’s an entirely different conversation) is very comforting to me. My friend Roberta remarked that she thought there will be a big surge in gardening this year, I happen to agree with her. And that’s when I started thinking about Victory Gardens.  

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Do you know what a Victory Garden is? I didn’t, until I ran across an article about one while researching garden planning on Pinterest a few years ago. Victory Gardens were promoted, and planted, during World War I and World War II. They were also known as “war gardens” In a nutshell, the government asked people to plant a “Victory Garden” to help contribute to the food supply. According to theherbalacademy.com, the amount of food that the armed services needed put a strain on the food supply, so everyone else was asked to plant gardens to help supplement. Schools planted gardens to help feed students. Companies planted gardens to help feed employees. Lawns were turned into gardens. Parks became gardens. 

botanic victory garden at Smith College in MA 1943

Cut to today. This pandemic has created so much fear that people are rushing to stores and hoarding food. I actually made two loaves of bread this past weekend because there wasn’t any bread at the grocery store. Weird times right now for sure. 

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I think now is the perfect time to bring back the Victory Garden. 

Wouldn’t it be nice to have access to food at your own home? Would you feel more secure and less panicked about things?  Do you know how good it feels to dig your hands into the earth? To pick your own tomatoes that are slightly warm from the sunshine? Audrey Hepburn famously said –

“Planting a garden is believing in tomorrow”

If you already plant your own vegetables or flowers, you know exactly what I’m talking about. You KNOW how good it feels when you pick your own food that you grew with your own two hands. But if you haven’t – NOW is the perfect time to get started. No matter how big or small you want to go – it is SO easy to get started. There are umpteen sources online to tell you how to do it. 

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ONE IMPORTANT THING – when you are researching anything garden related, you should add the word “extension” to the end of your Google search. Let’s say you want to know the proper spacing when you plant your tomatoes. You should search “spacing for tomato plants extension”  What that does is bring up actual, research-based information from universities in the United States. Many times when you are searching for these answers online, without the word “extension” added to it, you are getting information that may be biased from companies that are trying to sell you something. Not always, but many times. The extension offices throughout the country are affiliated with universities, and that is who organizes the Master Gardener programs. Make sense? 

Here are some of my favorite resources and suppliers: 

The Gardener’s Workshop – Lisa Mason Ziegler’s website is so informative. She has a lot of instructional videos, offers online courses and is the woman I learned all things soil-blocking from. 

Baker Creek – my FAVORITE seed catalog. They have so many beautiful and unique heirloom varieties. Love, love love. 

Johnny’s Seeds – they are my go to for most of the equipment I buy, and many of my seeds. I love their straightforward approach to growing. Lots of great information and videos on this site. 

Floret – I’m absolutely sure you already know about Floret. Erin Benzakien is SO generous with the information she shares about growing. From prepping, to planting, to harvesting – she’s got it ALL! And…the new Magnolia  network is going to have a show about their flower farming journey. Exciting!

Territorial Seeds – I like this company for their growing guides. I love the down home feel of their website and I also like to source unique flower seeds from them. 

Klehm’s Song Sparrow – local to us and some of the BEST Peony rootstock out there. Even Ms. Martha Stewart has their peonies in her own gardens. Aren’t we lucky to have them so close? 

While you have extra time at home right now, seize this perfect opportunity to get a garden started – even if it’s something as small as a countertop basil plant. Do it!!! It will make you SO happy and is the perfect distraction to all of the madness. 

mouse melons
Farm Life

A Whole New Decade

01.10.20

Happy New Year! I hope your year is full of sunshine and love and everything your little heart desires.  I’m not sure about you guys, but I am so happy to get started on some of the projects for the year ahead. I’ve been scheming and listing and trying to figure out what is actually feasible for us to accomplish this winter. And here’s what I’ve come up with:

It’s hard for me to prioritize when there are so many things we want to accomplish around here. Repaint inside the house, design the outdoor kitchen, get the barn quilt painted and ready, move the floral design area – I could keep going, but don’t want to bore you. What I’m most excited about is getting our little farm store up and running, and that’s what we are starting with this month. 

Our goal has always been to have people out to our farm. When we started selling at farmer’s markets a few years ago, the question most asked of us – aside from “Is this local honey?” is “Can we come to your farm?” And we’ve always said – “Not yet, but someday!” And now someday is on the horizon. 

We won’t be selling at Boxed and Burlap this year, as they will no longer have their Friday Farmer’s Market. Rumor has it that Williams Bay will be hosting the farm market on Friday’s, down at Edgewater Park – I don’t know if that’s actually going to happen. BUT we will be selling here at our place, on weekends. We are still deciding on days and times. Oh and what will we be selling? Eggs, honey, cut flowers, Anthony’s watercolors, beeswax candles, veggies and herbs from the garden AND a few more things that are – shall we say – still in development. 

This is the part of the barn where we want to set up shop. These are definitely rough “before” photos, but it’s a perfect little room with LOTS of potential. 

This is some of the inspiration that’s getting us excited to get out the sledgehammers. 

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Wish us luck as we get started on another project over here. We can’t wait to share our farm with all of you. 

 

Farm Life

5 years on the farm

11.20.19


Today marks 5 years of living on our farm in Wisconsin. What started out simply as a new beginning has become the greatest adventure of our lives. 

A few weeks ago, I asked Anthony “If we really would have thought about what we were about to do, do you think we would have done it? Like, for example, if we had said to ourselves, ‘hey, we won’t have just one roof/building/space to repair – we’ll have SEVEN of them’, would we still have bought this place?” He just kind of looked at me with a look that said “uhhhh, probably not”.  And are we glad we did it? YES –  a MILLION times yes. We both know that it was the best move we’ve ever made. 

Anthony and I the day we got our keys.

While I was scrolling through my photos of this past year, I started thinking to myself – Wow, we’ve done a LOT this year. And I NEVER think that. I’m usually more focused on what we haven’t done, what we need to do, what we should be doing, etc. It is extremely difficult for me to change that mindset, but I really am trying. I am. 

And now, you guessed it -it’s time for a little walk down memory lane. This is as much for me as it is for you guys. I need to be reminded of where we’ve been to know where we’re going – or something like that, right? Plus, you know how I LOVE a before and after. I mean, who doesn’t? So, what have we been up to?

We started this blog. 

We did some remodeling inside.

We learned to preserve.

We learned to grow things. 

We met the most fantastic people.

We went to Fish Fry. A lot. 

We grew lots and lots of flowers. 

We got barn cats. 

We became beekeepers. 

We embraced Elkhorn AND Wisconsin.

We survived an injury. 

Softball to the nose

We got cows. 

We watched those cows have cow babies. 

We extracted honey. 

photo courtesy of Catherine Carrison

We did some remodeling outside, with lots of help. 

We had cows escape. 

We got new fencing. 

We created a You Tube channel

We had a family reunion.We lost an animal.

We finally got chickens. 

And eggs! 

We scooped poop. A LOT of poop. 

We lost a barn cat and celebrated when he returned. 

Walter

Gigi survived a doggie injury.

We got a tractor. 

We lived through a polar vortex. 

We reclaimed the pool.

We won blue ribbons at the Walworth County Fair.

We sold at Farmer’s Markets. 

We had lots and lots of visitors.

Where are we going? Our greatest dream for Lucky Break is to be able to share it – the experiences with our animals, the beautiful views and most of all, the simple things in life it has led us to appreciate on a daily basis.

We are working towards this every single day and you guys will be the FIRST to know what and when and how this is all going to happen. 

photo courtesy of Catherine Carrison

Thank you. Thank you for following along with us, for commenting and encouraging us and for making us feel like what we are doing is worth sharing. 

photo courtesy of Catherine Carrison